Michigan DNR Facing Challenges, ‘We Can’t Check as Many Deer for CWD this Season’



Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources said they are facing several challenges this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, making it difficult to inspect as many deer for chronic wasting disease during the upcoming hunting season.

If you’ve been deer hunting in Michigan in recent years, you’re probably aware of the multitude of regulations set in place for certain counties in an effort to reduce the spread of CWD across the state. This year, however, officials are facing both staff and financial shortages brought on by the Covid-19 outbreak.

“We ask for your patience and grace as we adapt to meet these challenges,” said acting wildlife division chief Dan Kennedy.

The heads of deer taken in certain sections of six counties will be accepted for testing from October 3 to January 4. The counties included in those regulations are Jackson, Isabella, Gratiot, Delta, Dickinson and Menominee.

In addition, deer heads from Clinton, Dickinson, Eaton, Gratiot, Ingham, Ionia, Jackson, Kent and Montcalm counties will be accepted for state testing only during November 15-18.

If you harvest your deer outside of these areas or time frame but would still like it tested for CWD (for a fee), please use the CWD test instructions and order form from Wisconsin lab for submitting to the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.


There are regulations in place that limit the transportation of deer carcasses throughout the Lower Peninsula. Carcasses from areas with CWD should never be disposed of on the landscape in CWD areas. There are no carcass transportation regulations for the Upper Peninsula.

A deer harvested in Montcalm County in its entirety, Otisco, Orleans, Ronald, or North Plains Townships in Ionia County, or Nelson, Spencer, Courtland, Oakfield, Grattan or Cannon Townships in Kent County cannot be possessed or transported outside of those listed areas, unless:

  • The harvested deer is deboned meat, quarters or other parts of a cervid that do not have any part of the spinal column or head attached; antlers, antlers attached to a skull or skull cap cleaned of all brain and muscle tissue; hides, upper canine teeth, or a finished taxidermist mount OR;
  • The deer carcass is taken directly to a registered processor; AND/OR
  • The intact deer head detached from the carcass is taken directly to a licensed taxidermist.

The Michigan archery season opens Thursday, and the traditional firearm season starts November 15.

For more information regarding the state’s CWD regulations, go to Michigan.gov/CWD

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